Ecuador offers Julian Assange asylum (LIVE BLOG)


Julian Assange has been living inside Ecuador's London embassy since June 19, 2012 after requesting political asylum whilst facing extradition to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault.



UPDATE: 8/15/12 5:45 PM ET

Assange to give live statement



UPDATE: 8/15/12 5:00 PM ET

US responds

After being released on bail from a UK prison in December 2010, Julian Assange said he was more concerned about the possibility of being extradited to the US than to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations.

In recent months, Assange supporters have voiced similar fears that Assange’s exposure to questioning in Europe could open him to an extradition request by the United States.

But for the moment, at least, they may be unwarranted.

Contacted for comment today by GlobalPost's Lizzy Tomei, the State Department said that the US is staying out of the asylum saga.

“This is an issue between the Ecuadoreans, the British and the Swedes,” spokesman Noel Clay wrote in an e-mail. “We don’t have anything particular to add and are not planning to interject ourselves.”

The Justice Department had even less to say on the latest in Assange’s case. Asked for comments on the offer of asylum and information about potential legal action by the United States, DOJ spokesman Dean Boyd responded that the department had “no comment.”

UPDATE: 8/15/12 4:00 PM ET


GlobalPost's Kyle Kim breaks down why we love, and why we hate, Assange with an infographic.

UPDATE: 8/15/12 3:00 PM ET

Loves me, loves me not

Depending on who you ask, and perhaps where your politics lie, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is either a modern-day hero or a dangerous pariah. Globalpost breaks down the reasons the world either loves him or hates him.

Why we love him #1: He is a champion of government and corporate transparency.

Read more here.

UPDATE: 8/15/12 2:30 PM ET


Over the past few years, Assange has proved to be quite the man of mystery. GlobalPost's Stacey Leasca looks at four rumors that keep popping up about the WikiLeaks founder. Ecuador, be warned.

Read more here.

UPDATE: 8/15/12 12:45 PM ET

Can police enter an embassy?

British authorities insist that they can and might storm the Ecuadorean embassy in London to prevent Assange from leaving the country. The Guardian looks at whether the police have a right to do so.

Under international law, security forces across the world are not allowed to enter an embassy without the express permission of the ambassador – even though the embassy remains the territory of the host nation. The 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations codified the "rule of inviolability", which all nations observe because their own diplomatic missions are otherwise at risk elsewhere.

However, the Foreign Office told Ecuador that it had the power to revoke the embassy's diplomatic status under the Diplomatic and Consular Premises Act 1987. This act was passed by Parliament in the wake of the Libyan embassy crisis three years before, when PC Yvonne Fletcher was shot dead from inside the embassy.

Continue reading at the Guardian.

UPDATE: 8/15/12 12:45 PM ET

Photos of Assange

See the history of the Assange saga in photos. Here's a GlobalPost Planet Pic.

UPDATE: 8/15/12 12:40 PM ET

UK denies safe passage

The British foreign secretary, William Hague, has told a press conference that Britain will not offer Assange safe passage to Ecuador, the Guadian has reported.

We will not allow Mr Assange safe passage out of the United Kingdom, nor is there any legal basis for us to do so. The United Kingdom does not recognize the principle of diplomatic asylum.

UPDATE: 8/15/12 12:30 PM ET

TIMELINE: WikiLeaks through the years

GlobalPost has a timeline of key moments in WikiLeaks history.

UPDATE: 8/15/12 12:00 PM ET

Ecuador offers Assange asylum

Ecuador has granted Julian Assange asylum two months after he took refuge in its London embassy, the foreign minister announced in a press conference this morning in Quito.

Assange took refuge in the embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning over alleged sexual offenses, but he is subject to arrest by police if he sets foot on British soil.

GlobalPost's Simeon Tegel spoke with Cesar Ricuarte, executive director of Fundamedios, a Quito-based nonprofit journalism group, who dismissed the decision to grant asylum as a "PR exercise" by the Correa administration. Fundamedios and other freedom-of-expression and human rights groups have accused Ecuador's government of having the worst record on press freedom in the Americas, after Cuba.

"Correa is using this case to pose as a champion of media freedom," he told GlobalPost.

He added that Assange's asylum claim appeared "rather weak" and that in reportedly granting it, Ecuador had shown a lack of respect towards the British and Swedish justice systems.

Continue reading.